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Victor Lal was educated in his native Fiji Islands and at the University of Oxford and specializes in conflicts, coups and constitutionalism in multi-ethnic states. He was Reuters, Wingate and Research Fellow at Oxford. Victor Lal was Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University College, London, Guest Nobel Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and was an associate researcher on 'Project 1905: Swedish-Norwegian Relations for 200 Years', hosted by the University of Oslo. He has held visiting fellowships in Norway, South Africa, Australia and Fiji Islands. Among his publications include Fiji: Coups in Paradise-Race, Politics and Military Intervention and a forthcoming book Towards a World Without War: Andrew Carnegie, Peacemakers and Nobel Peace Prize, 1901-1951. He is completing a book on East African Indians and the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya and the biography of Justice Ransley Thacker, the judge who jailed Jomo Kenyatta. In 2008 Victor Lal was co-winner of Fiji’s prestigious Robert Keith-Reid Award for Outstanding Journalism.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lal and Hunter win Fiji's top journalism award

We are the best: Fiji Sun

9/22/2008
The Fiji Sun was the receiver of the Robert Keith-Reid Award for outstanding journalism

Below is the citation.

“This year’s Robert Keith-Reid Award for Outstanding Journalism is multi-faceted. It goes to two people who are not present tonight, and involves more than one publication.

The main recipients are Russell Hunter, former editor-in-chief and publisher of the Fiji Sun, and Victor Lal, the newspaper’s UK-based investigative reporter.

“To them and the Fiji Sun goes a joint and well-earned accolade. They receive this for reportage on highly controversial taxation, and other matters associated with overseas bank accounts of the former interim finance minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Mr Hunter’s leadership and support for Mr Lal and the Sun’s editorial team provided the professional context for what is arguably the best example of investigative journalism in the history of the Fiji media.

“Mr Hunter knew that in the current climate he was putting himself at risk. But this did not deter him from pursuing the great cause of the public’s right to know,

“Along with Mr Lal, he acted in the best traditions of crusading journalism. Mr Hunter and his newspaper paid a heavy price when he was virtually abducted from his home at night and summarily deported.

“Victor Lal displayed extraordinary persistence and skill in developing and uncovering the story in a series of articles over several months. His was a fine example of research and analysis based on documentation made available to him by sources who were also prepared to take a risk. The topic was complex requiring meticulous attention to detail in accomplishing and presenting the facts.

“To the Fiji Times and its editor Netani Rika, the judges give a special commendation for first publication of the name of the person at the centre of the controversy. It was not long after that the Fiji Times’ publisher Evan Hannah was also deported.

“The judges wish to acknowledge the work of all journalists who have been threatened or intimidated during a perilous time for the media and yet have continued to stand by the principles of their craft in defending media freedom and the people’s right to be informed.”

The two co-winners could not collect the award in person because both of them are on the Fiji military government's blacklist of banned persons from entering the country.